Guest contributor: Michael Nye

Table for Two, Minus One: Michael Nye Interviews Himself

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews



Q.  What are you doing here?

This is it! Today is the official Bill and Dave’s celebration of the publication of my first book, STRATEGIES AGAINST EXTINCTION. It’s a collection of eight stories and one novella, written over a period of almost seven years. I’m delighted that this book is now out in the world, and just wanted to take a moment to share the joy and toot my own horn (honk!) and let you all know. I’m sure many of you have lots of questions about this earth-shattering event, so I’ll try to answer as many of them as I can.

author and monkey

Q: Hey, congratulations! Um … who are you again?

A: Right! Michael Nye.  For some of you, it might have been a long time since we crossed paths. To narrow it down, you and I probably met in one of these four ways: 1. We went to school together (Princeton, Seven Hills, Ohio State, UMSL) 2. We played basketball together, likely in St. Louis 3. Academia: you’re a former student from my creative writing or composition classes, a writer like me, fellow editor or intern, or other wayward fan of all things literature and book related or 4. You used to beat me up in grade school. Also, you might have seen my film and television roles on Band of Brothers, Homeland, or that show about the cop that eats fruit.

Q: I remember beating you up! Your nose looks much better! So, what’s your book about?

A: Glad you asked! These nine stories are about regular people who find themselves at difficult turning points in their lives—times when they are faced with hard choices, broken promises, and the fear of self-destruction. These diverse characters include a 1940’s war veteran turned radio broadcaster, a film projectionist whose new boyfriend might be a terrorist, a second-generation comic book store owner, a vascular surgeon at one of Boston’s premier hospitals, an ex-baseball player turned financial advisor, an American ambassador who has a judo match with Vladimir Putin, a recently divorced woman who rents a room in her house out to an adulterous couple for their afternoon trysts, and more.

Q: Sounds fantastic! Where can I buy a copy of your book?

A: Your local bookstore or library will certainly order it if you swing by an ask them. But there is this thing called the Internet, and that’s probably easier. You can order a copy from AmazonBarnes & Noble, or IndieBound (ordering through them will mean the book comes from an independent bookstore), or directly from my publisher, Queen’s Ferry Press. My book is primarily in paperback but there is a limited number of hardcovers available. You can also get an e-book for your Kindle or Nook or any other e-reader.

Q: Hot damn, this is terrific! Hey, are you doing one of those author book tour things?

A: Absolutely! You could of course click over to my website and see when and where, but I’ll just tell you about the next two months: In the next six weeks, I have events in Columbia (Oct 9 and Oct 25), Chicago (Oct 5), Cincinnati (Oct 19-20), San Francisco (Nov 2), Atlanta (Nov 9), and St. Louis (Nov 19). All these events are free and open to the public. You should come! I’d love to see you.

Q: Aw snap! You aren’t coming to where I live! How are we supposed to have a celebratory beer together?

A: We should correct that! While I can’t do any more events in 2012 due to my job, I’m definitely thinking about early 2013 as time for another bit of touring. Let me know if there is a good bookstore or venue or book festival or library or whatever (McDonald’s? I do love McNuggets …) for readings in your area, and I’ll contact them and see what I can do.

Q: That’ll work. Okay, so I’ve ordered your book. Now what happens?

A: After you’re done reading the book – which I’m positive (positive!) will Change Your Life – and if you genuinely dug it, hop on Amazon and Goodreads and give the book a positive review and rating. This is really helpful to small press authors like myself who don’t have the full force of the marketing wing of a New York publishing house. Also, being all 21st century, you can get after me on Facebook and Twitter and say Howdy.

Q: Consider it done! By the way, do you realize you sound crazy if people don’t get your sense of humor?

A: Very likely.


[Michael Nye  was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended the Ohio State University, where he graduated with a B.A. in English, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he earned his M.F.A. in creative writing. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, Crab Orchard Review, New South, Red Cedar Review, Sou’wester, and South Dakota Review, among many others. His work has been a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in fiction. He is at work on new stories and a novel. He lives in the Midwest and works as the managing editor of The Missouri Review.]

  1. Debora writes:

    Hi Michael! I just finished reading your book. Wow! Great stories, and I really like the clean style of your prose.

    I had been looking forward to reading your book; the title struck deep for me. I was very gratified as a reader to discover the sensitive and generous way the writing exposed each character within each story–that there was no bad guy, only people trying to sort it all out, each to her or his own ability.

    As I moved through the stories “my favorite” kept changing–which is a great sign, I think! In the end, “Keep” became my ultimate favorite–my God, the last five+ graphs! I was a nervous wreck and so very relieved in the narrator’s choice!

    That said, one final thought toward Serena in, “A Fully Imagined World.” I am so glad she did not give that recognition. Writing women is tricky business for a man. I am impressed by your perceptions.

    Great job, Michael Nye!

  2. Tommy writes:

    When I listen to great interviews on NPR (liberal public radio – if elected, must remember to slash funding) and Letterman, I suspect the interviewee has been given a copy of the questions before the interview.

    Two questions: were you given a copy of the questions, and did Bill, or Dave tell you they give T-shirts from their book tour to anyone who comments on their posts?

    I wear a large.

    Funny both Debora and I asked for freebies. What is it they say about great minds… they recycle?

    • Debora writes:

      Hi Tommy! I’ll get you a monkey, you get me a t-shirt!

    • Michael writes:

      Freebies are always kind of nice. I had beer koozies (“can koozies” or just plan “koozies” if, I suppose, one is a Diet Coke drinker) to give out at readings, and they are significantly more popular than my book.

      There is a lesson in there, but I can’t quite figure it out.

      • Tommy writes:

        Let me spell it out for you (the lesson): you’re funny, creative, good-looking, have your own monkey, and interview well – ingredients that should garner you an informed and attractive fan base, wherever you read – but the economy sucks, and as Guy Holden, over at D.T.A. (Department of Testicular Affairs), revealed on Wednesday – nobody reads.

        Your market research, however, is spot-on – everyone drinks!! Love the “koozie” idea (there’s a made-up word, if I ever heard one, that’s found its way into the vernacular)! Next year, everyone will be doing it!

        [Note: I suspect few will find their drinking experience enhanced by nesting their favorite beverage inside a bright blue foam cylinder emblazoned with the words: “Tarball Chronicles”. Dave should stick with the monkey.]

  3. Michael writes:

    A monkey comes with every book purchase. Absolutely!

  4. Debora writes:

    Hello Michael Nye, author of Strategies Against Extinction. This is a great interview! Clever and sweet. I love it. Just one more question: If I buy the book do I get one of those monkeys?